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Nye County to receive CARES Act funds totaling over $8 million

In the state of uncertainty created by the COVID-19 crisis, Nye County has been working to analyze its financial position, with expenses relating to the pandemic, coupled with a loss of income from one of its biggest income sources, consolidated taxes, putting the county in a strained budgetary situation.

However, there is now some relief in sight as Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak announced on Thursday, June 11 that local governments throughout the state will be receiving federal CARES Act funds to help assist with the unexpected costs associated with the COVID-19 response.

“The funds will help counties and cities recuperate expenses already incurred related to the COVID-19 pandemic and will help pay for eligible expenses going forward as the state continues to recover from the impacts of this pandemic,” a news release from the governor’s office stated.

The release detailed that $148 million has been earmarked specifically for local governments of populations less than 500,000. In Nevada, the only governing bodies for populations over this amount are Clark County and the city of Las Vegas, which will receive their own separate funding directly. Each of the state’s 16 other counties and its many incorporated cities will receive a portion of the $148 million, based on a per capita calculation meant to provide an equitable distribution of the funds.

Nye County is expected to receive a total of $8,496,059 of the $148 million allocation. Nye County Commission Chairman John Koenig told the Pahrump Valley Times that there are certain strings attached to the CARES Act payout and the county is currently working on ensuring those requirements are met.

Nye County Comptroller Savannah Rucker provided further details on how the county will be using its CARES Act funding.

“The funding is to be used for many purposes including, but not limited to, the following: county expenses associated with emergency response costs, including overtime, testing, PPE (personal protective equipment) and other related costs; new programs to address ongoing needs related to COVID-19; sub-grants to nonprofits or other community organizations related to COVID-19; grants to small businesses who have been impacted by COVID-19.”

Rucker noted that the audit and administration process is likely to be extensive for entities that wish to apply for part of the county CARES Act funds. She said this money cannot be used for lost revenue. The funding can only be used for expenses related to COVID-19 that have been incurred between March 1 and December 30, with any unused funding to be returned after that date.

“We are still early in the process of identifying how to administer this funding in compliance with the act. I’m sure you can imagine $8.5 million comes with significant red tape relating to how it’s used. Nye County Grant Administrator Sam Kramer and I have several calls today to discuss proper management and administration of the funds and to clarify appropriate expenditures for all entities that may apply for the funding,” Rucker told the Pahrump Valley Times on Monday, June 15.

“COVID-19 has spared no corner of the state with its devastating physical and economic impacts. Nevadans took quick and decisive action to help slow the spread of the virus and save lives and now we are able to begin the financial recovery,” Sisolak was quoted as saying. “I am proud we are able to provide funding back to these counties and cities so they can put this money directly into their communities to help their local economies and residents begin their recovery from this virus.”

The release also explained that the CARES Act funding is specifically for covering expenses that fall under one of three categories: necessary expenses incurred due to the public health emergency, costs not accounted for in the local government’s most recently approved budget as of March 27 and costs incurred during the period that began March 1 and ends on December 30.

Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at rhebrock@pvtimes.com

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